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Spurs Odyssey Preview - Spurs v Derby, 29.04.2000

Last season's game - Spurs 1 Derby 1, 27.02.99
This season's away game - Derby 0 Spurs 1, 16.10.99
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This preview was written by Brian Judson

Full Record of Derby County -v- Spurs

Premier       Pl   W   D   L   For-Ag  Pts

Home           3   1   2   0     3-2    5
Away           4   2   0   2     5-6    6
Total (Prem)   7   3   2   2     8-8   11
Football Lge
Home (Div 1)  24  13   4   7    41-25  31
Away (Div 1)  24   3   8  13    29-60  16
Total (Div 1) 48  16  12  20    70-85  47
Football Lge
Home (Div 2)   1   0   1   0     0-0    1
Away (Div 2)   1   0   1   0     1-1    1
Total (Div 2)  2   0   2   0     1-1    2
Total (Prem)   7   3   2   2     8-8   11
Total (Div 1) 48  16  12  20    70-85  47
Total (Div 2)  2   0   2   0     1-1    2
Grand Total   57  19  16  22    79-94  60

This week we play Derby County, who are, more or less, assured of a further season's stay in the Premiership after beating Southampton on Monday. Effectively, the relegation issue is now confined to Wimbledon or Bradford City as Derby's goal difference is better than theirs.

Derby's best days occurred during the late 1960s and early 1970s when, first, Brian Clough and, then, Dave Mackay took Derby to the championship twice in the space of a few seasons. But, that apart, Derby have never really hit the heights, even though they were founder members of the Football League in September 1888 and had a long spell of membership of the old Division One from August 1926 to May 1953. For much of that time, Derby were content to meander in midtable. Although they have finished second or third on a number of occasions, they have been so far behind they have not really been able to claim they were in contention for the title. They have only won the FA Cup once, soon after the war, and have been runners-up three times.

Those of us who were there the night Derby County beat us in the FA Cup will not like to be reminded of that occasion. With ten minutes to go, we were 3-1 ahead and looking assured of further progress in the FA Cup. But a tall, gangling and clumsy player called Roger Davies struck to score the goals that left us beaten 5-3 after extra time. I remember how shell-shocked I felt as I left the ground that night.

Happier memories though of the afternoon when Gazza scored a hat-trick against Derby in September 1990. Two of those three goals came from free-kicks. The first was a fair way out and Shilton looked stunned as the ball flew past him. The second was even further out and Shilton was angry with himself for allowing Gazza to repeat his earlier effort. The third, if I correctly recall, saw Gazza part the Derby defence like the Red Sea parted to allow the Israelis to escape from Egypt in biblical times to score a marvellous goal. Sad to see Gazza is such a fat buffoon these days.

Fortunately for me, I was not present on two very sad occasions. The first was in September 1969 when we made our first trip to the Baseball Ground since 1953 and were thrashed 5-0 by a resurgent Derby side, captained by one Dave Mackay. That game sticks out in my mind more because of the damage yobs caused to a football special on the way back to London and further damage caused after they had been turfed off the train at Flitwick, in Bedfordshire. The other game was the 8-2 thrashing we sustained during the 1976-77 season. We have never before or since conceded 8 goals in a league match, although I did fear the Cup replay against Newcastle earlier this season would see that record surpassed. (Ed: Certain record books do list the July 1995 Inter-Toto Cup 8-0 defeat to Cologne as our record worst result)

Transfers between Spurs and Derby County are very rare. Dave Mackay left for Derby at the end of the 1968-69 season simply because he knew he was starting to slip from his high standards and did not want to disappoint the Tottenham fans. Brian Clough's decision to play Mackay as a sweeper extended his playing career for a further four years.

Derby's struggle against relegation this season has been strange because, on paper, they have quite a good side and have played some attractive football at times. They have been let down by an appalling record at home this season. It is probably just as well that Jim Smith is bald because he can't tear any more hair off the top of his head in frustration for the inexplicable Jekyll and Hyde form shown by his team. The signing of Georgi Kinkladze has been a master stroke by Smith. Kinkladze was unhappy at Ajax and Smith swooped to sign him on loan. His performances since arriving at Pride Park have gone a long way to steadying Derby's nerves.

At this point, although not strictly part of the preview, I want to say a few words about the current speculation. Graham is not expected to return to White Hart Lane for the forseeable future yet I see there has been frenzied speculation concerning Glenn Hoddle. I have to say I would prefer Hoddle does not return to the Lane as manager. For one thing, I still remain to be convinced he has the skills as a manager to take a team to the top. For another, I'd much rather prefer to remember Hoddle as the player he was rather than Hoddle the manager who became vilified by the very fans who once sung of him as being King of White Hart Lane. We all remember how quickly things went sour under Ossie Ardiles .....

Coming back to this weekend's match, Spurs ought to have few problems in beating Derby. Neither have anything to play for and neither are expected to put much effort into their game. I would not be surprised if the match ended goal-less but if Armstrong and Iversen can continue their recent flurry of goalscoring, I think we are capable of winning 2-0.


Cheers, Brian

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